Camcorder microphones are used by people who want to record higher quality sounds than one can receive with the standard built-in microphones. The style of camcorder microphone a person chooses to purchase is usually determined by what it is being used for. The three popular types of camcorder microphones include shotgun, lapel and handheld.
Shotgun microphones are generally used when recording sound coming from multiple directions, or when interviewing multiple speakers. This microphone can be attached to the camcorder or secured on a boom pole for extended reach. When recording audio, it can be moved and placed in the general area. When being used to interview multiple speakers, it can be quickly moved and placed in front of the person speaking at that time. These are often found at press conferences.
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Lapel camcorder microphones are generally used for recording audio during interviews or weddings. They are attached to the person's shirt to pick up his voice, and other close sounds, in a clear, concise manner. Lapel microphones are small, but very effective. Most lapel mics are omni-directional, meaning they pick up noise from all directions.
Handheld microphones are only efficient in picking up sound that is close in proximity to the mic. They are generally used when recording newscasts, or for singing on stage. Many people also use them when recording interviews behind the scenes, as the person won't be visible to the camera.
All three of these camcorder microphones are available in both wired, and wireless, versions. The wired versions are connected to the camcorder through direct attachment. The downside to the wired attachment is that it limits the distance from which you can record, and leaves a mess of tangled wires. The wireless versions come with a receiver, which is connected to the camcorder, and a transmitter, which is connected to the microphone. They are convenient, in that you can record a great distance from the camera, but they are very expensive and you must consider other factors, such as range, signal interference and battery power.
Before purchasing camcorder microphones, verify that they are compatible with your video camera. This is determined by the type of built-in mic connection it comes equipped with. The standard consumer camcorder has a stereo jack. The higher-end professional camcorders come equipped with an XLR jack. If the camcorder microphone you want to purchase isn't compatible with your camera, consider purchasing an adapter from your local electronics store.